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'We need him' - Emery's message as Ozil prepares for Spurs return

00:30 EAT 31/08/2019
Mesut Ozil Arsenal 2019-20
The Gunners midfielder is expected to be involved for the first time this season when Spurs visit the Emirates in the Premier League

Unai Emery says Arsenal need Mesut Ozil at his very best as the German prepares to return to the squad for the first time this season.

After enjoying a promising tour of the United States this summer where he showed glimpses of his best form, Ozil has endured an incredibly difficult few weeks - on and off the pitch.

He and Sead Kolasinac were the victims of an armed robbery attempt outside the latter’s house last month and although both escaped unharmed, there have been incidents since which led to the two players being withdrawn from the squad to face Newcastle on the opening weekend of the new campaign.

Kolasinac has since been integrated back into the fold, but illness saw Ozil miss out against Burnley and Emery did not feel his playmaker had recovered enough to feature against Liverpool last weekend.

But the former Real Madrid star has now had a full week’s training ahead of Sunday’s north London derby and has been declared fit to play a part when Spurs visit the Emirates.

And Emery believes having the 30-year-old available will be vital to Arsenal's chances going forward.

“Mesut Ozil, it’s the same message to him that I can say to you: we need him,” said Emery.

“We need him first to be consistent in training and to be available in each match.

“Last week he wasn’t ready to play 100 per cent in Liverpool. This week, he is getting better with each training and I think physically he is now better. He is closer to helping us.

“We need him because he is a different player in our team. We have different ways to prepare one match thinking to win and different qualities with the players, different characteristics from them.

“Really, for us, we need him to be available and he can help us with his quality.”

Arsenal go into Sunday’s game on the back of their defeat at Liverpool last time out, but they still sit above Spurs in the table and would open up a five-point gap on their rivals with victory in the derby.

It’s been a frustrating start to the campaign for Tottenham, who slumped to a shock home defeat at the hands of Newcastle last weekend - with boss Mauricio Pochettino admitting his squad felt unsettled.

Meanwhile, there is a mood of optimism around Arsenal - mainly due to the work that was done during the transfer window when six new faces arrived.

Two of the new additions, William Saliba and Dani Ceballos, could have joined Spurs - but ultimately decided that a move to the Emirates was the better option.

So does that mean that Arsenal remain a more attractive proposition than Spurs, despite the fact they can only offer Europa League football?

Emery is not so sure.

“We signed the players we wanted and we are very happy with those players,” said the Spaniard. “They [Spurs] signed as well very good players, Ndombele and Lo Celso, I know him good.

“I think our capacity and their capacity is very similar. The last year they are getting better in the table than us, but our challenge is now to reduce [the gap] and have the possibility to become better this year than them.

“Sunday is the first match, the first challenge for them and for us. Really I am looking forward to seeing our team with our supporters, how we can respond, how we can do that test against them.”